Can I just…. take a moment to mourn and discuss what Asami could have been as a character?
I was so afraid when Asami was introduced that she was just going to be a plot device meant to give Korra and Mako romantic angst, and although “The Aftermath” and “When Extremes Meet” gave me some hope for her to actually develop as a character and maybe become a contributing member to Team Avatar, today’s episode was a figurative step backwards. I’m having a hard time putting my thoughts into words, but I’m going to do my best.
I feel like she could have been something more than “Mako’s love interest”. She’s the only non-bender on Team Avatar, so they could have taken the time to really look at things from her perspective, maybe give Korra a chance to better understand what it’s like to live without bending. Of course, Korra’s already shown plenty of compassion to non-benders (rescuing that group of protesters from Tarrlok’s task force), but I wonder if she truly understands where the Equalists are coming from. A friendship with Asami could bring about an interesting epiphany and maybe have Korra working to fix the underlying problems that are responsible for the Equalists existing in the first place.
And beyond that, I feel like she could have been such an interesting asset to the team. She could have a knack for inventing, given what family she’s come from. Give her a garage on Airbender Isle and let her tinker with things. We’d even have a good chance for comic relief, for example:
"Hey, Asami! What’s that you’re inventing there, some astounding new mechanical weapon that will give us a new edge against the Equalists?"
"You put a teacup on it, and the tea stays warm!"
Or something along those lines. And then beyond that she totally COULD invent stuff to help them out! Heck, she could spend time tricking out the Avatar-mobile until it’s basically the Bat-mobile! There’s so much she could be doing to be helping her friends!
And even today, when she was moping at the back of the group with Bolin, she could have gone to Mako and actually talked with him- he had every right to be concerned about his friend, and this could have been a good moment for her to go and, I dunno, be supportive and say something like ”Hey, Mako! I’m your girlfriend, and one of our close friends has been kidnapped, so if you need to talk about your feelings, I’m right here for you!”
Or she could have even talked about her own concerns regarding his feelings for Korra! Of course I’m sure that right in the middle of investigating a kidnapping is not the best time, but I feel like anything could have been better than eating her feelings and letting it stew in the pit of her stomach. Unfortunately, it seems that that’s what she’s doing, so it’s entirely likely that there’s going to be a huge fight, and their relationship may even implode by the end of the next episode. I’m hoping not, but it seems likely.
I’m just saying, there’s a lot of untapped potential in Asami that’s being left to the side for the sake of romantic angst, and I’m really upset about that.